Pillow Talk: How to Make Standard Pillowcases (in 15 Minutes) with Any Fabric

Learn how to make a pillowcase for your bed with any fabric! It’s actually very easy. Great beginner project.

How to make standard pillowcases with any fabric in 15 minutes.

I love switching out pillowcases on my bed with different colors, patterns, and fabrics – depending on the season. And it turns out, it’s actually very easy to make your own pillowcases with ANY fabric you want. For example, these DIY pillowcases started as a shower curtain! Yes, a shower curtain.

But you can use any fabric you love to make standard size pillowcases like these – linen, cotton, jersey, etc, etc. Sky is the limit. So you can switch them out whenever the mood strikes.

Side note…this project is a great beginner sewing DIY and takes about 15 minutes from start to finish – not bad right?! Click through for the sewing tutorial for standard pillowcases.

What size is a standard pillowcase?

A standard size pillowcase measures 20 inches by 26 inches (51 cm by 56 cm).

What are the dimensions for other pillowcase sizes?

A queen size pillowcase is 20×30 inches (51cm x 76cm). And a king size pillowcase is 20 x 36 inches (51 cm x 92 cm).

White bedroom with a pop of pattern

Supplies to Make a Pillowcase

  • 1-2 yards of fabric (depending on if you’re making one pillowcase or two)
  • sewing machine
  • iron
  • straight pins
  • thread
  • scissors

How to Make a Pillowcase

Quick note: The measurements below are for a standard size pillowcase. If you want to make a queen or king size pillowcase instead, the measurement will vary slightly, but the adjustments will be minor. See below measurement suggestions in step one for different pillowcase sizes.

1. Cutting your fabric.

Start by cutting two identical size pieces of fabric, that are each 29.5 inches long and 21 inches wide. This will create a 20×26 inch pillowcase when finished.

*If you wanted a Queen size pillowcase instead, you would cut two pieces of fabric that are 33.5 inches long and 21 inches wide. And if you wanted a King size pillowcase, you would cut two pieces that are 39.5 inches long and 21 inches wide.

2. Fold fabric, iron, pin, and sew.

Create a seam for the outer edges of the pillowcase by folding over the fabric 3.5 inches (on the long end – where the opening will be). Then iron down the folded part and pin it, to keep it in place. Sew the bottom edge of that fabric to itself. This will create a faux cuff, kind of similar to the look of a french seam.

3. Repeat step 2 with the second piece of fabric.

4. Pin the pieces together and sew.

Then put the right sides of the two fabric pieces together, line up the cuffs that you create in steps 2 and 3. The cuffs side is the opening side of the pillow. 

Pin the remaining three sides together with straight pins (be sure to keep the cuffed in open) and sew a straight line around the edges of the aiming three sides of the pillowcase.

5. Flip the pillowcase right side out and it’s ready to use.

DIY pillowcases project. Click through for the tutorial.

And that’s it! Now that you know how to make a standard pillowcase, I’m guessing you’ll be switching out your bedding as often as I do, right?! It’s fun!

Easy tutorial for how to make standard pillowcases with any fabric.

Pattern pillowcases that are handmade, on white bedding.

DIY pillowcases, using literally any fabric (including yardage from a fabric shower curtain)

Image of minimal white bedding and bold pattern pillowcases.

DIY pillowcases idea with terrazzo print fabric.

How to Make a Standard Pillowcase

This DIY standard pillowcase project is a great beginner sewing DIY and takes about 15 minutes from start to finish - not bad right?! Click through for the tutorial.
Total Time15 mins
Keyword: diy, pillowcase, quick sewing project, sewing, standard pillowcase
Author: Brittni

Ingredients

  • 1-2 yards of fabric depending on if you're making one pillowcase or two
  • sewing machine
  • iron
  • straight pins
  • thread
  • scissors

Instructions

  • Quick note: The measurements below are for a standard size pillowcase. If you want to make a queen or king size pillowcase instead, the measurement will vary slightly, but the adjustments will be minor. See below measurement suggestions in step one for different pillowcase sizes.

Cut fabric down to size.

  • Start by cutting two identical size pieces of fabric, that are each 29.5 inches long and 21 inches wide. This will create a 20x26 inch pillowcase when finished.
    *If you wanted a Queen size pillowcase instead, you would cut two pieces of fabric that are 33.5 inches long and 21 inches wide. And if you wanted a King size pillowcase, you would cut two pieces that are 39.5 inches long and 21 inches wide.

Fold, iron, pin, and sew.

  • Create a seam for the outer edges of the pillowcase by folding over the fabric 3.5 inches (on the long end - where the opening will be). Then iron down the folded part and pin it, to keep it in place. Sew the bottom edge of that fabric to itself. This will create a faux cuff, kind of similar to the look of a french seam.

Repeat step 2 with the second piece of fabric.

  • Then put the right sides of the two fabric pieces together, line up the cuffs that you create in steps 2 and 3. The cuffs side is the opening side of the pillow. Pin the remaining three sides together with straight pins (be sure to keep the cuffed in open) and sew a straight line around the edges of the aiming three sides of the pillowcase.

Flip the pillowcase right side out and it's ready to use.

    Notes

    What size is a standard pillowcase?

    A standard size pillowcase measures 20 inches by 26 inches (51 cm by 56 cm). 

    What are the dimensions for other pillowcase sizes?

    A queen size pillowcase is 20x30 inches (51cm x 76cm). And a king size pillowcase is 20 x 36 inches (51 cm x 92 cm).
    Tried this recipe?Mention @paperandstitch or tag #paperandstitch!

    And regarding the other pillows in the final shots, in case you want a source… those are a buy, not DIY. The grid print is under $30 for a set of 2, available on Spring. And the white quilted shams are from Parachute (available in 5 colors). Let me know if you have any other questions about bedroom stuff.

    What do you think of this DIY pillowcase project? Think it’d be easy enough to tackle at home?

    26 comments | Click here to reply

    Where did you find the shower curtain?? <3

    Shelby

    Hi Shelby. The shower curtain is from Urban Outfitters, but it’s no longer available online. I bought it in store for 50% off. Here’s what it looks like as a shower curtain though, to give you an idea: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/259801472232990681/

    Brittni

    These are lovely and so simple! Reminds me of how much I could make if I actually got around to buying a sewing machine

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

    Natalie Harney

    Thanks Natalie. Yes – definitely is nice to have a sewing machine for these types of projects. You could probably do a no sew version though, using fabric fuse tape or adhesive like this: http://rstyle.me/n/ckk6gemvmw

    Brittni

    Wow, it’s that easy? Now I have to try it!
    https://www.makeandmess.com/

    Michelle

    Definitely Michelle. And let me know how it goes, if you do give this a try. It’s super straightforward.

    Brittni

    Wow, that shower curtain was such a find! The pattern looks like it was always meant to be a pillowcase

    Cat

    Completely agree that the fabric was meant to be a pillowcase, Cat. So glad I found it.

    Brittni

    Cool beans!!

    Gemma
    http://www.fadedwindmills.com

    Gemma

    After searching for the perfect pillowcases/bedding I finally decided I should just DIY some because there are so many great fabric options. Thanks for sharing such a great tutorial Brittni!

    Sarah

    […] Pillow Talk: How to Make Standard Pillowcases (in 15 minutes) with Any Fabric, by Paper & Stitch […]

    Tutorial: Sew a standard pillowcase in 15 minutes – Sewing

    My sewing classrs taught me another way and it takes more than 15. We prewash fabrics, iron and line up the edges, french seams, etc. Yours seem so easy. I think I like both ways. My expensive pillow cases always seem distorted after was, but mine stays exactly as made.

    Kim Francique-Diep

    […] Make your own pillow cases in 15 […]

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    I love this! x

    Grae

    You’re right that fabric is awesome! x

    Claire | Heart Handmade UK

    Thank you for sharing this simple pillowcase! I always make matching pillows for the quilts that I make – including an extra one to use as a storage bag for the quilt.
    I’ve been doing “French” seams along the three sides, shades of my mother’s formal tailoring style. However, reading & thinking abt yr tutorial — I think I’m going simple seams from now on !! Although I probably will still zig zag edges to keep any ravelling tendencies encased.
    Thank you again for a bery simple and usable pattern!

    RR

    I love that pattern! It would go really well with my couch! LOL

    Kayleigh

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    This is SOOOO easy! Thank you for the tutorial! I’m on the hunt for a great shower curtain NOW!

    Teresa Sole

    Brittni this is fantastic! Bookmarking:)

    Anna Liesemeyer

    Awesome!! There will now be new pillow cases in every bedroom of our house coming soon. Thanks so much for the tutorial!! Hope you are having a great day!

    Jenna

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    Clever way to add a nice detail! I have a couple of tips that would make it even simpler: In step #1 (if fabric permits), you could cut ONE piece 33.5″ by 41″. Then you only have two seams to make after you make the hem. Also. in step #2, it would be clearer if you said “Create a HEM…. and PRESS”. You could also add that you fold AGAIN. I taught middle school and high school sewing for 30 years and found that I had to spell out directions in order to simplify projects for my students!

    Donna

    Nice idea. Well done. But . . . .It would be a little easier to fold the fabric and cut the two pieces for each case as one, thereby eliminating one of the side seam. Just a suggetion.

    Pennywise

    I’m super new at sewing, just bought my first sewing machine a few months ago at the age of 60. Wanted to make masks for the family and am getting so stressed out. Someone had posted on the site how sewing is a form of therapy and I responded that I couldn’t wait for that day. A sweet lady named Debby suggested doing a pillowcase and gave me your site. I think I can do this. Thank you for tutorial and the idea of buying a shower curtain. Trying to watch and read all I can in spare time. Slow road to paradise!!
    Thank you so much,
    Ruth

    Ruth Angotti
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